The Virginia Department of Health’s Alleghany Health District announced on March 29 that a resident of the district, a woman in her 80s from Botetourt County, who was ill with COVID-19 died the day before.
“Sadly, we have experienced our first local COVID-19-related fatality. We send our sincere condolences to this person’s family,” said Molly O’Dell, M.D., director of communicable disease control, Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts.
“Unfortunately, those over 65 and those with underlying health conditions are at greater risk of serious complications from COVID-19,” said Dr. O’Dell. “Everyone, especially at-risk individuals, are strongly advised to take steps to minimize contact with others who are ill, practice social distancing and stay at home as much as possible.”
In some patients, especially those at-risk patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions, like diabetes, heart or lung disease or compromised immune systems.
To lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages everyone to:
- Stay home when you are sick;
- Avoid contact with sick people;
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing;
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth;
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces;
- If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor;
- Practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and other individuals when out in public; and
- Avoid crowds of more than 10 people.